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Discovered last July, Hale-Bopp “could be one of the brightest comets of the century…or it could turn out to be a bust,” says astronomer Geoff Chester. But the signs are good: Even beyond Jupiter’s orbit, this wandering iceball is easily visible with amateur telescopes and has started to sprout a tail of volatile gasses. In “The Comet is Coming,” Chester discusses spectacular sightings of the past, and tells where to locate Hale-Bopp when it streaks past Earth in the spring of ’97. At 9:30 a.m. at the National Air & Space Museum’s Einstein Planetarium, 6th & Independence Ave. SW. FREE. (202) 357-2700. (Greg Kitsock)